Coldplay were living in paradise with their last release, Mylo Xyloto, back in 2011, featuring both a number 1 album and single, which is actually a surprising rarity for a band of Coldplay’s popularity. But, after the success of Mylo Xyloto, the tour it proceeded and a collaboration with Rihanna, the band simply disappeared, but now they’re back with their new sixth album.
Ghost Stories does however, straight away, get us kind of worried in that it’s just a 9 track album, here’s hoping for quality over quantity! The album has been reported to be more of a, result of the end to the relationship with lead singer Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow, more than anything else, aspects of that can be felt throughout the album.
One thing Coldplay did do with Ghosts Stories is create a Visual Album, which essentially contains the entire album, with the album art for Ghost Stories, with a load of things happening around it. Whilst it’s nothing too exciting by itself, it may help you remain in the mood for the album, and to make it more of an event, time for a full start to end listen. Speaking of which, let’s get to our review.
Always In My Head
The album kicks off with a calm, but mysterious feel, which emanates throughout the album. The song has a beat and sound that’s almost completely not Coldplay, but then of course Chris Martin’s vocals remind you that it is. The sound does have a moody feel to it, as it speaks of keeping someone in mind through a break up and generally thinking of the best things to do, to get through it.
The strange selection of beat symbols and string sections do make this song more than it would be without them, but with the rather lazy lyrics of the song it almost doesn’t fit, leaving the song with much less meaning that it would normally have, but overall still is rather good.
Magic was the song that announced that Coldplay would be releasing a new album. The disco drum pad drums, reminiscent of something from Coldplay’s 4th album, and electric piano effects make their way in to the sound of the song. The slight etchings of guitar strings throughout sections of the verses, to the pulsing sound in the follow up choruses does give the song an awesome sound towards to the second half of the song, although getting to that point does feel kind of dragging.
Magic as a song is rather ironic, in that whilst it is based on a darker time, the song almost makes consistent desperate attempts to sound happier, which unfortunately are way too noticeable to almost enjoy. The lyrics of the song basically derive around the common believe that love is almost like magic, in the case that it’s indescribable and unexpected.
Ink kicks in keeping up the sound of Always In My Head, but with an almost hip-hop sound throughout. The song title, Ink, is rather a mystery as to why it’s called that, but we’ll let that slide. If we’d to stretch, we’d likely assume Ink is a reference to the tattoo references, in that love is a tattoo of who we are in our lives, in that it’s always there.
The song itself is in a word, OK, but does suffer from a weak sound and lyrics, something we’d expect from Starsailor, not Coldplay, but it is what we’ve found. Ink also continues that desperate attempt to sound positive in the same awkward way of trying to smile when you’re pissed off, not nice.
All I know is, I love you so, so much it hurts
With a title like True Love, you’d expect an awesome ballad, and True Love definitely kicks off with that sound in mind. True Love has a beautiful string section throughout, followed by the heart-beat style drums pads that play, you’re left with a beautiful song, and the first song to meet the quality and expectancy of what we know as Coldplay on the album. Chris Martin’s vocals have never sounded as good as they do on this song, our instant favourite.
The song generally is a beautiful one, which talks about someones hope that someone loves them as they love them, to the point at which they want to hear them say they love them too so much, to the point at which they’d rather they lie to them, than let them down, which is something we can all relate to happening at least once in our lives. End results of all of this, a beautiful pure Coldplay song!
Tell me you love me
If you don’t then lie
Oh lie to me
Midnight is the second song made available from the album, via a strange haunting video that actually really matches the sound of the song. The song contains a haunting auto-tune of Chris Martin throughout and an eerie, whilst simple, incredibly affective sounding song.
The song itself sounds really haunting and eerie, to the point where you can’t help but love it a little bit, it’s by far not our favourite song by Coldplay, and is an incredibly simple song, but the mysterious affect intended, are definitely ones delivered in the end product.
In the darkness before the dawn
In the swirling of the storm
When I’m rolling with the punches and hope is gone
Leave a light a light on
The haunting aspects continue in to Another’s Arms. It doesn’t take much to realise, Another’s Arms is a song about losing something so simple as been able to just hold someone in your arms throughout the day, and the effect of that suddenly been gone, being such a shock to the system and a sad moment.
The song itself is a beautiful calm melodic song, which whilst has an incredibly sad meaning, has a positive message in it, that whilst this sounds cheesy it’s true, in that no matter what you will ever get or do in your live, there’s nothing more important than someone there to share it with, and that another person being the another’s arms.
We have to mention, at first listen, we thought they were saying ‘a mother’s arms’, not ‘Another’s Arms’ … ah the beauty of the English language right there.
Got to pull you close into me
Another’s arms another’s arms
Pull yourself right through me
Another’s arms another’s arms
Oceans is a raw acoustic song, guitar and voice, which speaks of the inevitable ending of a relationship in front of your eyes, and whilst the problems are been attempted to be fixed, it’s all too late and is over already. Why the song is called Oceans we don’t really know, it mentions rain a lot, if you’d call that a qualification.
The song itself, as we mentioned, is a calm and raw acoustic melody, which whilst has a lot going for it, doesn’t really work for us, the return of that poorer sound of the album is back
Meet under sun and
Meet me again
In the rain
In the rain
A Sky Full of Stars
A Sky Full of Stars begins with that piano-led sound that began Coldplay, which is really refreshing to see and hear, but before you can get used to it, the song then adds that newer Coldplay sound in to it as it continues in to the chorus. The song overall is an up-beat positive song speaking of looking in to the stars and seeing the one you love shining just as bright as the stars which light up the night sky.
Whilst the songs meaning after that is rather unclear, what we’re left with is a rather decent Coldplay song, that whilst is nothing special at all, on an album of multiple disappointments, we’ll settle for anything, and this does it for us.
Cause in a sky cause in a sky full of stars
I think I see you
I think I see you
O, yes that’s the name of the track, is a piano based melodic track which speaks of a flock of birds, in that a flock of birds could be considered the way we’re all looking for our own special person, whilst many will fly right past you, eventually you will find that one which, as the song suggests, will fly next to you.
The song itself is very pure, just piano and voice delivers this song to you, the only thing that mainly lets us down about the song, is that the song simply feels like it’s building up for something, then just never goes there, which leads to it feeling rather incomplete … likely something you’ll feel about the album entirely based on that this, the ninth track, is the last one!
Fly on, ride through
Maybe one day I’ll fly next to you
– A feeling of immense disappointment is not something we’ve ever felt from a Coldplay album before. As a personal fan of the band from their debut Parachutes to Mylo Xyloto, I’m left with a very bad taste in my mouth with Ghost Stories. The album simply doesn’t take off, contains poorly written, moody, dreary songs, which is such a shame when you consider everything the band have done in the past.
There is some sense of hope however thanks to tracks such as True Love and Another’s Arms, but a fraction of an album can’t save the full thing, which let’s remember is just 9 tracks, which is way too small! We’re highly hoping for something better from Coldplay if they intend on releasing something after this, as disappointed is not the word. But, that hasn’t stopped the massive Coldplay fan-base putting this at number 1 in all download services based on pre-orders alone.
PRE-ORDER GHOST STORIES BY COLDPLAY RIGHT HERE;
Ghost Stories by Coldplay is out Monday 19th May 2014. One thing we will say is, more times than not, it’s actually cheaper to get each track individually than the full album, no seriously!
On iTunes, it’s £8.99 for 9 tracks, which cost £8.91 if done individually. On Amazon its £10 for the album, when you can get tracks for 99p! Just saying. Before everyone attacks us, we do know of a Deluxe Edition, which pushed the track list up to 11, but that’s a limited available Deluxe Version originally exclusive to US retailer Target, not the retail traditional album, and not what most, if not all, purchasers will receive.
Spotify available upon release
HMV available upon release